The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

72° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Americans misunderstand constitution

    In his response last week to Ms. Yusra Tekbali’s article on the gay marriage amendment (of which I have no comment at this time), Mr. Michael Huston stated that “”it’s obvious that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution cannot be unconstitutional. That is a contradiction in terms.””

    All praise and glory to Mr. Huston; he has shown us the way! Apparently, a constitutional amendment need not be consistent with the ideals of the Declaration of Independence or the existing constitutional law. If a majority of Americans feel that America needs to be a monarchy, well, we can just amend the Constitution to make room for a king. Yes, I think Mr. Huston would make an excellent Pharaoh.

    I find it endlessly fascinating that so many Americans misunderstand the purpose of having a constitutional republic as opposed to a simple democracy. The Constitution is there to define and limit the scope of governmental powers, as a safeguard against tyranny and abuse. It is not a dictionary of social mores, not a list of things ‘verboten’ and not the ultimate weapon in a war of ideologies.

    Democracy alone does not ensure the rights or safety of citizens from the abuse of the government. We must remember that it was a majority of Athenians who voted to kill Socrates. The Constitution is there to enshrine our rights – to protect an “”unpleasant”” minority from the wrath and whims of the majority.

    We cannot permit the government to define social conventions, no matter how innocuous. Once we start down that road – if we should do it even once – then we have given the government sanction to do it again. Our protests to the contrary will not avail us when that happens.

    Mr. Huston, you think you are protected – that this will never cause you or your ilk any harm – because you are in the majority … now; but this may not always be the case. There were times and places in the world where religion was considered harmful to the pseudo-democratic state and its people. Would you then care to live under a Soviet-style government, Mr. Huston?

    I can only hope that by the time you are a political science senior you will come to understand the terrible depth of your mistake.

    Robert M. Phillips
    mathematics senior

    More to Discover
    Activate Search